CHICAGO – Chicago families can now enjoy a newly updated playground just steps off the Magnificent Mile.
The Eli M. Schulman playground at Seneca Park officially opened its gates Tuesday, with community members saying that they hope the upgrades will bring families out to socialize with their neighbors – and keep children who utilize the playground safe.
“The park that we are replacing is 31 years old,” said 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins. The playground equipment is 31 years old. It was rusty. It had bolts sticking out. Sharp jagged edges. It was actually very hazardous.”
Not since 1990 has the Streeterville-area playground been renovated. Now, updates to the play area include a 16% increase in space and softer surfaces for safety. The playground’s design was inspired by the Chicago Water Tower and the neighboring firehouse. It bears the name of restaurateur Eli M. Schulman, who many spoke about at Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting.
“When I moved back to Chicago in 1979, the first place my dad wanted me to go was Eli’s Place for steak,” said local business owner Grant DePorter. “I showed up, and Eli looked at me and said ‘no way.’ He had a jacket for me cause I wasn’t dressed enough. Back then, it was a fancy place, and he had a jacket for me, and I became friends with him ever since.”
Alderman Hopkins says the playground’s completion will bring about more upgrades in the near future.